Cover image for Welcome, Brown Bird
Welcome, Brown Bird
Ray, Mary Lyn.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Orlando : Harcourt, 2004.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 x 28 cm
While a boy in North America urges his father not to cut down the trees where the wood thrush lives, a boy in South America awaits the return of the bird that he calls "la flauta" for its flute-like song.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.4 0.5 74613.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Poetic text and stunning paintings tell the story of a wood thrush that makes the long migration between New England and Central America. At each end of the journey is a boy who watches and waits, protecting the bird's nesting place until it returns. Neither boy knows that his love of the thrush's sweet song links him--like a brother--to another boy across the world, a boy who doesn't even speak the same language.

Includes an author's note that details wood thrush migration and habitat protection.

Author Notes

Mary Lyn Ray was born in Louisiana in 1946. She is a conservationist who worked in museums for fifteen years and as a professional consultant in land protection and historic preservation. She is also the author of several picture books for children including Christmas Farm, Pumpkins, Shaker Boy, Welcome, Brown Bird, and Stars.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 3. This begins on a North American farm, where a boy convinces his father not to clear the hemlock woods for a cornfield, since that is where a thrush lives each spring and summer. In May, the bird returns to the hemlocks and sings until fall, when it flies away. In a country to the south, another boy awaits the thrush and convinces his father not to harvest the trees where the bird lives. The thrush returns, sings until spring, then flies northward. Simplicity and dignity are the hallmarks of both text and illustrations. The story is well structured and the language precise, though children who do not speak Spanish may wish for a guide to pronouncing and translating the two lines of dialogue written in Spanish. Well composed, beautifully lit, and impressionistic in style, Sylvada's oil paintings are seen to best advantage at a little distance. A fine choice for reading aloud, this book is natural for classroom units on birds, migration, and the conservation of wildlife habitat. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Every fall, a wood thrush says goodbye to a boy in the northern hemisphere and flies thousands of miles south to greet a boy in the southern hemisphere. Both boys wait every year for the bird, and with childlike earnestness both convince their fathers not to clear trees in the woods where the bird sings. The boy in the distant country speaks Spanish, but he says the same things as his English-speaking counterpart in the North his words ("La flauta,... est aqu!") are perfectly clear in context. Ray (Red Rubber Boot Day) has conceived an expressive metaphor for the interconnectedness of living things, even those unknown to each other: "Neither boy knew where the brown bird went," the text ends. "Only the bird knew they were brothers." Sylvada (A Symphony of Whales) paints a series of landscapes in which mood and light predominate. In pointing up the similarities between the boys, their fathers and their farms, the images leave out particulars of textures and facial features; and the same mustard, brown and sky-blue palette is used for both settings. Within the story, the ending is a happy one one boy's happiness always follows the other's loss but a sober afterword explains Ray's concern for the headlong destruction of songbird habitats. Its pared-down focus on a single issue makes the book an effective discussion-opener for younger listeners. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Unbeknownst to one another, two boys living in distant places share a common bond in their affection for the small brown wood thrush that migrates between their countries each year. The quiet, two-part story with its conservation message begins with an unnamed boy who "lived at the edge of a hemlock woods." Each day in April he watches the world turn green and listens for the thrush's song that announces its arrival. He persuades his father not to clear trees for a new cornfield so that the bird might still have its seasonal home. Ray's reverential text is set on creamy yellow pages facing broadly painted oil scenes deeply saturated with golds and browns. The colors echo the tones of the bird but seem a rather confusing choice for the northeastern United States spring and summer setting of the first portion of the story. In the "damp forest" in Latin America where the bird migrates, a Spanish-speaking boy expresses fondness for the small creature and convinces adults not to cut down its trees. Ray's concluding note blends comments on her personal observations of the thrush, its migratory behavior, and the necessity of greater conservation efforts. Blurred images of people and places do little to augment the vague representations of them in the text, but the simple scheme and worthwhile lessons may be useful in some educational settings.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.